KC has warned loving parents who refuse to allow their teenage children to dress in a sexually suggestive manner could face jail under the SNP’s ban on conversion therapy.
Aidan O’Neill, Scotland’s chief solicitor, slammed the proposals as “confused and fundamentally illiberal” and said those who do not accept the state’s “new dogmas on sex, sexuality and gender identity” could face up to seven years behind bars.
In a legal opinion, he said this would include parents who did not allow their children to dress as members of the opposite sex.
The proposals would also have the “undoubted effect” of criminalizing much of the pastoral work of mainstream churches, mosques and synagogues and temples if made law, Mr O’Neill said.
In plans unveiled last month, the Scottish Government proposed banning any attempt to “change or suppress” a person’s gender identity or sexuality, or the expression of it.
A serious criminal offense would be committed if acts were “compulsory” and caused physical or psychological harm.
After a major backlash to the plans, the Scottish Government tried to allay concerns, claiming it did not intend to criminalize parents.
However, Mr O’Neill’s view is that the plans are so broad that even a parent of a homosexual teenager could face prosecution if they tried to restrict their clothing choices.
This is to prevent a criminal from “demonstrating” sexual orientation.
“Obviously this definition of coercion would therefore include parents trying to control how their child ‘presents’ in terms of, say, clothes, make-up and hairstyle,” his opinion says.
“Therefore, parents who actively and consistently and directly oppose their child’s decision to present as a gender different from the gender given at birth would be committing a criminal offence.
“A parent’s absolute inflexible prohibition might prevent, say, their 14-year-old daughter from going out in public dressed in what her parents might consider overly sexual and sexually provocative and obvious, in principle, to criminalize it. this proposed legislation.
“It is clearly no defense for a parent to say they acted out of love and to help their child.”
The SNP’s claim that the plans will respect existing legal rights to family life and free speech has been disputed. Mr O’Neill said the proposals amounted to unwarranted interference in such areas, which could be well outside the scope of Holyrood’s powers.
Although the courts would have to find that a child had been harmed, an act that would cause “distress” would be enough to cross the threshold, according to the consultation.
The Christian Institute, which commissioned the opinion, has already vowed to fight the ban in the courts.
“This is perhaps best described as ‘jellyfish legislation’,” Mr O’Neill wrote.
“The concepts he uses cannot be understood; its boundaries are completely undefined; there is a sting in the tail in the form of a criminal sanction of up to seven years and unlimited fines.
“In short, these proposals from the Scottish Government for legislation are ill-conceived, confusing and confusing, and fundamentally illiberal in intent and effect.”
Although the SNP government has tried to reassure parents, the plans have been put together with the help of transition activists who are pushing for a widespread ban.
The SNP’s coalition partners in the Scottish Greens are pushing for a comprehensive ban and dismissed fears over parents’ rights as “nonsense”.
Many SNP politicians fear the legislation could become as abusive as Nicola Sturgeon’s self-identification law, which was blocked by the UK Government.
Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute, said the plans were “outrageous”.
“This is another example of the Scottish Government asking Holyrood to exceed its powers and impose draconian legislation on the people,” he said.
“If this very flawed law is passed it will be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
“The average mother and father are guilty of trying to take their kids away from radical trans ideology. Church leaders face prosecution for not praying according to the dogmas of the state.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our proposals do not prevent parental and religious guidance which is not motivated by an intention to change or prevent their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Our approach fully respects the existing legal right to private and family life, and freedoms of speech, religion and belief. This is a consultation, and the Scottish Government is open to all views.”